HITS Daily Double

Chris Ethridge dies

CHRIS ETHRIDGE, bassist and founding member of the Flying Burrito Brothers, died in Meridian, MS, of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 65. As a bandmate of Gram Parsons in both the Burritos and the group’s predecessor, the International Submarine Band, Ethridge has to be considered a significant perpetuator of what Parsons famously described as “Cosmic American music.” “Here’s what people don’t know or don’t remember,” former Byrd and Burrito Chris Hillman told the L.A. Times’ Randy Lewis on Monday. “Three of Gram’s greatest songs were co-written by Chris: those would be ‘Hot Burrito #1,’ ‘Hot Burrito #2’ and ‘She.’” Ethridge was born in 1947 and raised in Meridian, moving to L.A. at age 17 and beginning a career during which he helped bring together the previously disparate strains of country, R&B and rock & roll while playing with the likes of Ry Cooder, Randy Newman, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and Willie Nelson. Hillman told Lewis that Ethridge brought an R&B feel to his bass work, something that he learned playing in R&B and blues clubs in Mississippi in the early 1960s, “before people did that.” The result was that “he had the feel. He was not the fanciest bass player, but that’s not what it is about the bass. He had the groove, he had it right in the pocket… I learned a lot from him. And he was a real good songwriter. Real good.” Ethridge, who was humble and a real Southern gentleman, had been hospitalized with pneumonia following a round of chemotherapy for the cancer, which had been diagnosed in September. (4/24a)